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As court decision looms, some Arizona abortion clinics see increase in support

It’s been more than two months since Arizona’s Supreme Court  heard arguments over abortion laws in the state. The justices have still not announced whether Arizona doctors will be able to continue providing abortions up to 15 weeks, or if the state  should enforce a law that bans all abortions, except to save the life of the pregnant person. But some Arizona abortion providers say they've seen an increase in support for their services amid the legal uncertainty. 

Planned Parenthood Arizona is the state’s largest provider of abortions and is a party in the Supreme Court case. Chief medical director Dr. Jill Gibson told KJZZ News the pending decision has been a distraction.

“It is looming. It's something that certainly were keeping in the back of all of our minds," Gibson said. 

But she said in the past few months, the case has inspired a surge in interest from volunteers and medical professionals wanting to work with the organization.

"I get calls and emails all the time from people who are general surgeons, or who are retired urologists. People who I wouldn't necessarily assume would be willing to or interested in providing abortion services are contacting me saying, 'how can I get involved?'” Gibson said. "The potential loss for the ability to help our patients secure bodily autonomy I think has brought people out of the woodwork."   

Dr. Gabrielle Goodrick, owner of Camelback Family Planning, said she has also recently had a wave of new hires motivated by the legal back-and-forth.

"I had more applicants than ever," Goodrick said. “They wanted specifically to work at an abortion clinic because it gave meaning and this was really important to them. I’ve never heard that before." 

Arizona's Supreme Court could halt most abortion services in the state at any time, but Goodrick said she’s trying not to think too much about the case.

"I try to forget about it because it just seems absurd,” Goodrick said. 

Both Goodrick and Gibson said they’re looking further ahead. They said they’re optimistic  a measure to expand abortion access in Arizona would be successful if it makes it onto ballots in November.

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.